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The same can't be said of e-cigarettes.
Fewer students reported trying cigarettes or cigars between 2012 and 2014, the new research showed. The report was a joint effort from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center for Tobacco Products.
The report also found that fewer teens reported being curious about cigarettes or cigars.
But, teens are still showing a worrisome level of interest in e-cigarettes.
The CDC released a survey in June that found last year just 11 percent of high school students said they'd smoked cigarettes in the previous 30 days -- a significant decline since the 1990s. However, 24 percent said they'd used vape products, such as electronic cigarettes, within the last month.
E-cigarettes are electronic devices that vaporize a fluid that often includes nicotine and flavorings.
The federal researchers behind the new study cautioned that any exposure to nicotine -- whether it's from traditional cigarettes or cigars, smokeless tobacco or e-cigarettes -- during the teen years could have a harmful effect on brain development.
"These findings underscore the importance of addressing the factors driving curiosity about tobacco, which can inform ongoing and future efforts to prevent all forms of tobacco use by U.S. students," wrote the researchers, led by Alexander Persoskie from the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products.
For the new study, the researchers looked at information from the 2012 and 2014 National Youth Tobacco Survey. It's a nationally representative survey of middle school and high school students.
The study showed the percentage of teens who ever tried cigarettes dropped 4 percent. Meanwhile, the proportion of students who never used or were definitely not interested in cigarettes rose 3 percent.
Between 2012 and 2014, the percentage of students that ever used cigars fell nearly 4 percent. The proportion of young people who never used cigars or were not interested in them increased almost 3 percent.
The researchers also checked on teens' interest in e-cigarettes.
The proportion of young people who were "definitely" or "probably" curious about these products but never used them was almost 11 percent in 2014.
-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
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